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Iran summons UK envoy over 'meddlesome' Amini comments

Iranians join a pro-government rally in Tehran on October 5, 2022 to condemn anti-government protests over the death of Mahsa Amini
— Tehran (AFP)

Iran said on Wednesday it had summoned British ambassador Simon Shercliff to hear a protest over "meddlesome statements" on the unrest sparked by the death of Mahsa Amini.

A wave of unrest has rocked Iran since the 22-year-old Kurd died on September 16 after her arrest by the morality police in Tehran for allegedly failing to observe the Islamic republic's strict dress code for women.

The street violence has led to dozens of deaths -- mostly of protesters but also members of the security forces -- and hundreds of arrests.

Tehran "rejects and strongly condemns the interference of the British foreign ministry in Iran's internal affairs by resorting to fake and provocative interpretations", a foreign ministry statement said.

"Unfortunately, by issuing unilateral and selective statements, the British side shows that it has a share in the scenarios of the enemies who are active in Britain and are acting against the Islamic Republic of Iran.

"Iran will consider possible options for a reciprocal response to any unconventional actions by the British side," the ministry said, adding that it had made its protest on Tuesday.

Also on Wednesday, Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian warned the European Union of a response a day after its foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said the 27-member bloc is considering sanctions against Iran over Amini's death.

"If the EU takes a hasty political action based on baseless accusations and in order to encourage rioters and terrorists who have targeted the lives and property of the Iranian people, we will have a reciprocal response to it," Amir-Abdollahian said in a phone call with Borrell.

"We consider peaceful demands the right of the people and we always pay attention to them, but their ranks are completely separate from the rioters who set ambulances on fire, destroy banks and public places, and attack people and police with cold weapons or firearms or engage in terrorist activities; we will deal decisively with rioters and terrorists in accordance with the law."

Earlier on Wednesday, in an Instagram post, foreign ministry spokesman Nasser Kanani accused "Western governments" of meddling in Iran's affairs.

"The interfering behaviour and open support of some Western governments for the recent disturbances in Iran and the continuation of their provocative behaviour proved that whenever they see an opportunity, they will not hesitate to take direct and indirect action against the stability, security and establishment of our country and system," Kanani said.

On Monday, the British foreign ministry summoned Iran's top diplomat in London to criticise the way Iranian authorities are handling the protests.

"The violence levelled at protesters in Iran by the security forces is truly shocking," foreign minister James Cleverly said.

"We will continue to work with our partners to hold the Iranian authorities to account for their flagrant human rights violations," he added.

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